Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
So it's settled then, right? Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez is the best artists in comics, right? I know, I know... "best" is a highly subjective term, so let's get it clear: Garcia-Lopez can draw just about anything with masterful elegance and natural subtlety. He can make the mundane seem compelling and the ridiculous seem plausible. His eye for detail and design may be underrated, but his sheer cartooning skills are as sharp now as they were in the past 3 decades. Hailing from the Hal Foster/Alex Raymond school of realism, Garcia-Lopez is one of the rare few modern artists who make that style seem full of life and enthusiasm as opposed to the stiff, dull and practically traced hack work that it has devolved into. Is it too far fetched to say that everything Garcia-Lopez draws is perfect?
I'll start with this obscure pin-up of ASTRON, Star Soldier (from Astral Comics #1, a fanzine by Tom Sciacca, 1977). Garcia-Lopez had already been a pro for a number of years at this point, but it's interesting that this is one of the very few non-DC Comics work he has done since first signing on with DC.
The Batman Family graces the cover of Detective Comics #487, September, 1979 (minus the title and recolored for the Batman Gallery from 1992).
Channeling Picasso, Garcia-Lopez gets artsy in the oversized Batman vs. Hulk, Fall, 1981 (story by Gerry Conway, inks by Dick Giordano).
Written by Gerry Conway (again) and inked by Steve Mitchell, this scene is from Batman #337, July, 1981.
Batman #353, written by Gerry Conway (who was a frequent collaborator in the 70s & 80s), is a great old school stand alone story.
From Batman #353 (inked by Dan Adkins), here's a tightly crammed page that still manages to retain clarity and read smoothly despite the flashy yet beautiful layout.
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez is the definitive artist for many iconic superhero characters, Batman and Superman being among the chief examples. For all the flash that Garcia-Lopez is easily capable of, my favorite pieces of his work are oftentimes the quiet and regular human moments. With the simplest facial expressions and body language, he manages to give the Last Son of Krypton more humanity than a stack of graphic novels can ever explain. From Superman #347, may, 1980, written by (guess who?) Gerry Conway.
A few months later in Superman #351 (September, 1980, written by Denny O'Neil), Garcia-Lopez tackles Mr. Mxyzpltlk and the circus. It's a good story, trust me.
Fantastic 2 page sequence from DC Comics Presents #4, December, 1978, written by Len Wein.
A page from DC Comics Presents #24, August, 1980, written by Len Wein. I seem to like floating heads a lot.
These 2 stories from Adventure Comics #s 465 & 466, late 1979, work as self contained short stories (first one's inked by Dick Giordano). Look at those clothes. Look at that old lady! Or... or the birds, look at the birds. What about the old man's forehead?
What I'm saying is that all of the Garcia-Lopez Deadman material be collected, including the mini series from 1986, written by Andrew Helfer (from #2 below). Actually, you may as well and collect everything he's ever done while you're at it.
A few covers. They are nice to look at.
Two comics that should but probably won't ever be collected: Cinder & Ashe and Twilight. C&A you can still get in the bargain bins but Twilight is one of Howard Chaykin's best, stupidly underrated, and gorgeous to look at. It's essential, I tell you! Anyway, here a few more pages... depressing, wholesome and hilarious... in that order.
The New Teen Titans #11, 1985 (w.Marv Wolfman, i. Romeo Thanghal). Depressing!
Action Comics Weekly #641, 1989 (w. Paul Kupperberg). Wholesome!
Action Comics Weekly #623, 1988 (w. Paul Kupperberg). Hilarious!
Here are a few Who's Who Update '88 entries.
Most recently, Garcia-Lopez has teamed up with Kevin Nowlan to produce the latest story arc in Batman: Confidential #s 26-28, written by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir. Below is the cover to # 27. Garcia-Lopez's pencil work and Nowlan's black & white versions of this story's pages can be found on Nowlan's own art blog:
Like Nowlan, Garcia-Lopez has his own Modern Masters (Volume 5) published by TwoMorrows and available online or your local comic book store. When you look through that book (or any of his work), assuming you're an artist as well, you may find yourself angrily chucking the book into your art station or a fire, then slumping to the realization that no matter how hard you try you will never be that good. Then you will cry and choke and rip all of your drawings up. Not that I do anything like that when I see the work of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. I'm just... you know, sayin'.
Return to the Columns Page